iPad’s New Camera Will Change The Way You Document Your Life [Opinion]



Let’s call a spade a spade: the iPad 2 camera seemed like an afterthought with image quality that barely rivaled the iPhone 3GS — it was hardly usable. But the new iPad camera isn’t a small upgrade. It’s going to start a revolution.

First, here’s what’s new:

Image stabilization is now going to help you keep your images sharp, and will assist you in taking better low-light photos (and videos).

The new infrared filter is the same one Apple uses on the iPhone 4S. This means your colors are going to be more vivid, less washed out, and your iPad will take better videos and photos in daylight. A big upgrade, especially for video.

The new camera module appears to be larger too, and includes a 5 Megapixel sensor. A larger sensor possibly means better low-light performance and less image noise. And with 5 megapixels, your images should now look sharper, crisper, and you could even print a decent 8×10 or a great looking 4×6. iPad is now able to take 1080p video too!

I’m thrilled to see that Apple went with another backside illuminated sensor too, just like in the iPhone 4S. Backside illumination is a technique that improves the sensor’s ability to gather photons, meaning higher image quality overall, and that’s especially so in low-light conditions.

And finally, we now have auto-focus with face-detection.

Okay, great. So the iPad gets a better camera. Is it really a big deal?


You now have an amazing camera on the iPad paired with a plethora of powerful editing software available on the app store. You can now record, edit, and upload 1080p videos from one fast, portable, easy-to-use device. The iPad finally allows you to capture powerful images and video, instead of just editing them.

I see parents everywhere using iPads at their kids’ birthday parties. Film makers making movies in HD with an inexpensive new 1080p camera. Grandparents recording and sharing memories of their grandkids. The iPad is one of the most accessible computers in the world, and now it’s able to provide people who aren’t photographers the ability to create beautiful images. People who’ve never recorded a video now have a way to do so, in full HD. And all on a beautiful device that makes sharing your life with others a snap.

I never thought I’d be able to text message with my mom, and then she got an iPad 1. I can only imagine what she’s going to be able to do with this.

  • badtzwang


  • dcborn61

    It is still extremely uncomfortable to use to take pictures, let alone videos. Why wouldn’t you use your phone instead?

  • TechUser

    Holding up a clipboard sized iPad to take pictures/video is very uncomfortable.  While it is very nice that Apple FINALLY upgraded the camera, (it should have always had the same camera as a the lastest iPhone), it’s very awkward to use.

    I cringed when I stood in a roller coaster line at Knotts Berry Farm, (an amuzement park in California), and watched as the person behind me used their iPad to take snapshots. I can only imagine that they regularly spend a fortune replacing the screen, or paying for water damage.  It’s just not the right thing to be carrying around on roller coasters and water rides!

  • erfon elijah

    you could definitely use your phone, i think a lot of people will do that.  but there are tons of people who don’t have an iphone, or a smartphone period.  there are a lot of older people who will use an ipad, but are still scared of desktops.  

    the ipad is also easier to edit on, and easier to see for people with bad vision.

    it’s going to make photography and videography more accessible to everyone, just not guys like us.

  • nschultz

    Uh, let’s not call a spade a spade.

  • Beto

    I prefer my Iphone…. I love my Ipad, but it is ridiculous think that I will use it to record my kids party’s…

  • Luigi Louissaint

    Mmmmm…still looks kind of awkward though when you are trying to use it as a camera though…but the upgrade will definitely be most welcomed!

  • cassandralite

    Posting a photo of Spike Lee with his iPad and leading with “Let’s call a spade a spade.” 

    Wow, that’s some set of balls you got there, Erfon.  Remember “chink in the armor”?

  • doug_springer

    Not only is it awkward to shoot with, you look like a total dork doing it. I had to struggle to suppress my laughter when someone whipped one out at a wedding to shoot the couple. “Look at me! I have an iPad that takes inferior photos to a point and shoot costing $100!”

  • mlahero

    It might work for some people but I think its a big jump to call it an upcoming revolution……. The camera in an iPad is an afterthought, and a secondary feature to its primary function as a tablet. It’s a nice addition to have because we love options but its not going to turn the photography industry on its head.

  • Örjan Larsson

    I look forward to test it out at work with some sight impaired, and use it as an magnification glass. The iPad 2 backside camera wasn’t that good for that

  • erfon elijah

    thank you for talking about my balls.  

    ironically, i posted that photo because I thought when i first saw that photo it seemed ridiculous, but now i think spike was just ahead of his time.

  • Stephen Norman

    I have a very hard time believing this camera with change much. The iPad is simply FAR too large and awkward for photography.

  • C Rod

    Have you seen the iPhoto demo? For someone who takes tons of pictures like myself I think the new iPad will change the way I travel. I don’t have to carry my MacBook anymore. With the stuff you can do with iPhoto on that 9.7 inch retina display (granted you could do it on the iPad 2’s lower resolution screen), it’s a selling point for me at least.

  • cassandralite

     I hate P.C., so I’m laughing.  But the world generally isn’t friendly to that kind of sarcastic wit.  Right now you’re so close to the precipice, there ain’t enough room for a razor’s edge.

  • Johan Potgieter

    Agree. It looks as if you want to slap someone with the iPad instead of taking a photo. But I guess it is a good thing if you have it with you….

  • warrengonline

     erfon, thanks.  Perfect reply.  I used my iPad2 to capture our dog who despises baths, running out to be in the rain.  Yes, I have a Canon Rebel T2i, but why run to go get it when I have the iPad2 in my hands?  I’m not making a movie in HD Quality, just recording a life moment.  Thanks.

  • warrengonline

     Hmm….  Not many people carry $2000 of electronics in their pockets or on their person.  But some of us do.  Why?  Convenience.  Some ‘not to tech savy’ like the iPad2 as a camera as: 1. Bigger View Finder.  2. What you see is WHAT you GET.  3. Email it RIGHT from the device, unlike a phone where you have to push small buttons (if you have one).  4. Just met a friend while out and about, show and tell right on the spot.

    I do find using my iPad2 as a camera ‘unusual’, but it works for many people.  My real question is: Why haven’t these things replaced the clutter in Police Cars?  No mistake arrests, direct feed to the data: current photos – taken on the spot, digital video on the spot like a dash cam (only better – DIGITAL). 

  • warrengonline

     :)  Waiting until after kids BDay for new comment.

  • warrengonline

     But still better than a stone tablet, right?  And faster than a painting.  Capturing the moment.

  • warrengonline

    So true.  Now you are making me want to buy the New iPad in addition to my current iPad2.  Oh should I pre-order just for magnification?  Well, also, I was cheap on my iPad2, for $100 more I could have gotten a 32GB, but no, I cheaped out and got the tiny 16GB.

    32GB+ this time.

  • warrengonline

     Hmmm…  Ease of use and functionality is what the iPad brings. iPad2 improved on speed and dual cameras.  iPad(3) improved on speed, better display, and image capture.  As some computer illiterate and older not to tech savy individuals realize what they can do, they are going to do it regardless.  I hardly use my iPad2 for photography, but I do use my Canon Rebel T2i (even at small gatherings) to take photos, then load them into my iPad2 and use SnapSeed to edit them.  Now Photoshop Touch is here.  It’s a bit awkward, but my friend’s finance loved it.  Time will tell.

  • AriRomano

    You forgot about the extreme amount of rolling shutter the back camera produces that makes it practically useless for HD recording. I have an iPhone 4S and it has a great still camera. However, I need to spend hours of rendering with AdobeAfterEffects’ warp stabilizer to get an moving image that at least doesn’t give me headaches and after this treatment, due to blurring and cropping that results from the stabilizing, it can barely called SD.